By: Allison Bagley, Houston Chronicle
Discovery Green goes galactic Saturday, when the Houston Cinema Arts Society hosts Julydoscope, a free event where NASA-inspired short films will be screened.
The arts organization has selected 13 films, each 10 minutes or less, from submissions to its CineSpace initiative, a partnership with NASA that invites filmmakers around the world to make shorts using NASA archive photos and video footage. The films will be displayed on a massive outdoor screen.
Houston native Richard Linklater, an Oscar-nominated director, will help judge the international CineSpace competition each year.
Houston Cinema Arts Society’s Michael Robinson said films at the event will appeal to both parents and kids. In previous years, Julydoscope has centered around the movies “Xanadu” and “Hairspray.” Last year’s event was canceled due to rain.
One of the films on tap is the animated “Voyager,” a story about a half-human, half-robot girl who takes an adventure through a starry galaxy, finding an artifact from a long-ago space mission along the way. The French filmmakers spliced their cartoon creation with footage of a real artifact.
“How they integrated it is so seamless,” Robinson said, likening the short’s visual style with a Pixar film.
“Growing up here, you hear all these stories about space exploration,” he said. The film competition “allows Houstonians to give their own stamp and imagine new possibilities” with NASA’s archival footage. “It gives a whole new layer to the science-based mindset of how people normally think of NASA.”
A Houston family created and starred in “Higher Ground,” another film that will be shown. Using no dialogue, the film shows a family of four’s imagination at work. Watching a TV show about space in their living room one night, they’re inspired to go to their backyard and build a spaceship. Viewers watch Mary Magsamen and Stephan Hillerbrand, and their children Maddie and Emmett, now 15 and 12 respectively, drag everyday objects to their yard — a kiddie pool, artificial Christmas tree, Tupperware and an old television set.
They assemble a spaceship, which is then painted to look more real, and climb aboard. The second half of the film takes place inside the spaceship. The family, dressed in space suits, simulate lifting off and rocketing to another world. The rocket boosters, made from trash cans, use a fog machine for effect.
It took three months to build the spaceship in the 10-minute film.
“We wanted to make something that was fun and creative … exploring the mythology of our family,” Magsamen said.
Before the movies begin, local performance group Opera in the Heights will stage a musical they created set around the theme of space exploration. Another local arts organization, Musiqa, will perform a percussion-based piece that sounds like a rocket lifting off, Robinson said.
And if a young audience member is inspired to imagine a career as an astronaut, he or she can make a stop at the NASA tent, where representatives will be on hand with some real-life artifacts.
Robinson said he hopes the variety of styles of the short films will make filmmaking seem attainable to kids who might think, “I can do this in my backyard. I can pick up that camera and make something with my three best friends, and it can still be really great.”
Full article can be found here.
Flicks, brews, and out-of-this-world fun: Houston Cinema Arts Society launches new CineBrew series and will host annual Julydoscope as part of summer programming
HOUSTON, TX – Houston Cinema Arts Society (HCAS) has an exciting summer of programming on tap for 2018, the year that marks the tenth anniversary of the Houston Cinema Arts Festival. Beginning July 13, HCAS will launch a new series called CineBrew, a brewery showcase that will include feature film screenings, local short films, and the chance to socialize and mingle with friends over cold pints.
The first CineBrew on Friday, July 13 will take place at Spindletap Brewery from 6:30 PM to 9 PM and screen the Steven Spielberg 1974 feature directorial debut The Sugarland Express. Spielberg – who is synonymous with summer cinema with hits like Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Jurassic Park – helped advance his burgeoning career in the early ‘70s with The Sugarland Express, starring Goldie Hawn.
After the cancellation of last year’s Julydoscope due to inclement weather, HCAS will is thrilled to bring back the family-friendly classic to Discovery Green in Downtown Houston on Saturday, June 21 with a dynamic selection of CineSpace shorts spanning the past three years. JULYDOSCOPE 2018 will kick off in proper galactic fashion with a family-friendly showcase by OPERA IN THE HEIGHTS at 7:30 PM, followed by a live saxophone quartet performance by the musical group MUSIQA beginning at approximately 8:00 PM. The screening portion of the evening will commence at sundown with over a dozen short films covering a wide array of genres, themes, and approaches to filmmaking that all revolve around the utilization of NASA imagery from its half-century spanning archives. Houston Public Media’s Ernie Manouse will host the evening.
CineBrew will blast off again in August at Eureka Heights Brewery with a screening of the iconic film Apollo 13. The brewery’s “Space Train” IPA will make for the perfect complement to the Ron Howard Oscar-winning drama. The August CineBrew will be held on Saturday, August 25 from 6 pm to 9 pm.
“The Houston Cinema Arts Society is excited to expand its programming during the summer months with the launch of CineBrew and the return of Julydoscope,” commented HCAS Executive Director Patrick Kwiatkowski. He added, “With CineBrew, HCAS is hoping to expand its reach into more alternative screening spaces and embrace the Greater Houston area with films – both in terms of venues as well as the Houston landscapes in cinema. Houston is a sprawling and layered city with many different event spaces, and HCAS hopes to create event programming that serves geographically, economically, and culturally diverse communities.”
A third CineBrew event will conclude the series in the fall at 8th Wonder Brewery on Thursday, September 20 from 7:30 pm to 10 pm with a screening of Rick Linklater’s 2003 film School of Rock, which celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2018.
For more information about CineBrew.
For more information about JULYDOSCOPE 2018.
About Houston Cinema Arts Society (HCAS)
HCAS is dedicated to presenting innovative films, media installations, and performances that celebrate the artistic process and enrich Houston’s culture and urban vitality. Through year-round programming, its annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival, and its co-sponsored shorts competition CineSpace with NASA, HCAS aims to provide a platform for film in Houston and unite the arts through film.
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Less than three months after Hurricane Harvey devastated the city of Houston, the Houston Cinema Arts Festival kicked off its’ ninth year of festivities. In the wake of the storm venues had to be replaced and plans had to be changed, but we all pulled together to create the best HCAF yet! The festival included everything from Oscar hopefuls (and eventual winners) like Call Me By Your Name and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri to travels through space and imagination with CineSpace and beyond.
The Cinema Arts Celebration at White Oak Music Hall was a hit, combining the classic Singing in the Rain with modern music and dance performances. The eclectic event included performances by Bun B, Kat Edmonson, members of the Houston Ballet, and many other talented artists. Bodied, from director Joseph Kahn, was another crowd favorite at the 2017 festival. The film showed to a packed theatre and was followed by a Q&A from the director and Bun B, as well as an amazing live rap battle by local rappers.
Through the storms and setbacks, HCAF 2017 managed to become one of the most engaging, electrifying festivals in Houston Cinema Arts Society history thanks to all of the wonderful patrons, volunteers, filmmakers and artists!